California Housing Legislation – 2019 Update

In 2019, the California legislature passed, and Governor Newsom approved, new legislation impacting the development industry. Effective January 1, 2020, the laws summarized in the link below will impact the development process in many ways – from streamlining local permitting procedures for eligible projects to tenant protections and new incentives for financing affordable housing. The new laws also obligate local government to undertake updates in their housing plans and plan for growth, among other requirements. In 2020, we anticipate the state legislature to continue to tackle housing access and affordability and we are closely tracking progress on key bills, including Senate Bill 50 (Weiner). Continue Reading

Appellate Court Holds Charter Cities Are Bound By State Housing Objectives, Signaling Erosion of Local Discretion

In Anderson v. City of San Jose (2019), the Sixth District Court of Appeal held that California’s charter cities must comply with the Surplus Land Act (Govt. Code § 54220 et seq.).[1] This decision, essentially, ruled that the statewide housing crisis is of paramount importance, and that all cities – even charter cities – must yield to the state law processes governing surplus land disposition and give affordable housing preference when building on surplus city land. Continue Reading

Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482) – COMPLIANCE GUIDE

In the fourth quarter of 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a package of housing-related legislation that included 18 individual bills. Within this package, there were a significant number of important changes aimed at addressing the statewide housing crisis through a variety of measures, including, among others mechanisms, upzoning, approval streamlining and tenant protections.[1] Continue Reading

Is the Popularity of Short-Term Rentals Sustainable, or Will Regulations Weaken Their Current Stronghold?

This article originally appeared in the California Lawyers Association’s “Real Property Law Journal.”

Like many other sectors in the “sharing economy,”[i] short-term rentals of residential property[ii] (“STRs”) have become a ubiquitous part of the national economy. Often labeled as one of the biggest disrupters in the travel industry, STRs are particularly impactful on the United States tourist sector, with one estimate putting the size of the domestic vacation rental market at $100 billion.[iii] The STR industry is young and, while not yet fully crystallized, flush with growing demand.[iv] The number of consumers utilizing STR options has burgeoned exponentially since 2011,[v] with a reported seven in ten millennial business travelers preferring to stay in local host rentals over more traditional lodging options.[vi] Continue Reading

EU is Taking Action: The Fight for Clean Air

Public awareness regarding air pollution in the European Union is at an all-time high and citizens expect authorities to act. In this vein, the European Commission[1] has recently taken a number of direct and indirect actions, including engagement of the Court of Justice of the EU, enforcement measures against car manufacturers and a Europe-specific “Green Deal,” to stem the tide of rising air pollution and become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Continue Reading

Start Spreadin’ the News: California Court Says No to New York, New York; Rejects Forum Selection Clause

Sinatra may have found success in the city that never sleeps, but a California court has just made it more difficult for any party doing business with a California resident to do the same. At least, when it comes to resolving disputes without a jury in a New York courtroom, or in the courtroom of any other jurisdiction that enforces pre-dispute jury trial waivers. This case will be of major interest to commercial lenders, and other businesses, who prefer to use New York as their jurisdiction of choice for governing law and adjudicating disputes. Continue Reading

Fall Season Results in California Coastal Commission Victories

This Fall, the California Coastal Commission (“Commission”) was handed down two significant victories, further cementing its authority and jurisdiction within California coastal zones. These cases demonstrate that, in certain instances, compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Res. Code §§ 21000 et seq.) (“CEQA”) and local regulations may not be enough to secure development rights for either private developers or local governments. Continue Reading

New Law Aimed At Assisting Low Income Renters Invokes Additional Restraints on California Landlords

As part of his last legislative act of 2019, Governor Newsom signed 18 housing-related bills into law in an attempt to alleviate California’s housing crisis. This package included Senate Bill (“SB”) 329, which prohibits landlords from denying prospective tenants based on their use of certain federal, state, or local subsidies. Continue Reading

EPA and Army Repeal Clean Water Rule and Move Forward with Plan to Redefine Waters Subject to Federal Regulation under Clean Water Act

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published a rule on October 23, 2019, repealing the Clean Water Rule promulgated by the Obama administration in 2015. The rule, which goes into effect on December 23, 2019, puts the pre-2015 regulations governing areas subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act back into place nationwide. Environmental groups and state attorneys general have vowed to challenge the repeal in court. Continue Reading

California’s “Housing Crisis Act of 2019” May Boost Housing Production or Just Boost Housing-Related Litigation

On October 9, 2019, Governor Newsom signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 330, or the “Housing Crisis Act of 2019” in an effort to combat California’s current housing shortage, which has resulted in the highest rents and lowest homeownership rates in the nation. In a nutshell, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 seeks to boost homebuilding throughout the State for at least the next 5 years, particularly in urbanized zones, by expediting the approval process for housing development. To accomplish this, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 removes some local discretionary land use controls currently in place and requires municipalities to approve all developments that comply with current zoning codes and general plans. If not extended, SB 330 will only be effective from January 1, 2020 through January 1, 2025. Continue Reading

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